UST is now operating under the name U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co...

April 3, 2009 - Smokeless tobacco company UST Inc., the nation's largest maker of smokeless tobacco, has finished moving its operations from Connecticut to Richmond, Virginia where its new parent company, Altria Group Inc., is based.

Altria bought the maker of the Copenhagen and Skoal smokeless tobacco brands in January in a deal valued at $10.4 billion, plus the assumption of $1.3 billion in debt.

Altria's portfolio of businesses, now includes cigarettes, cigars, moist snuff and wines. It controls about 50 percent share of the tobacco industry and offers leading brands in each segment. Michael E. Szymanczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria, "with the acquisition of UST, Altria has been transformed into the premier tobacco company in the United States. “Our tobacco operating companies have four powerful brands, Marlboro, Copenhagen, Skoal and Black & Mild, which are leaders in the largest and most profitable domestic tobacco categories. Sales of smokeless tobacco have grown about 7 percent annually in recent years, and about 6.2 million Americans now use the products. Tobacco companies are aggressively pursuing smokeless tobacco as sales of cigarettes decline 3 percent to 4 percent each year.

Daniel Butler, president of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company: "While we are very pleased with the success of our strategy to drive category growth in moist smokeless tobacco, we've been less than pleased with our ability to hold our share of the category," Daniel Butler, president of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, said.

Butler said UST cut wholesale prices of its premium products about 20 percent this week to grab more market share and bring its prices closer to those of competitors. From February 1, 2009 through March 28, 2009 - the price of Skoal and Copenhagen was reduced one-dollar. After this promotion 68 cents was subtracted from the original price of these products. For the $1.00-off promotion Philip Morris USA (PM) field sales force took charge. It seems the only task left over for the UST field force is to give credit for expired cans of snuff. These sales people wonder if Altria will reduce the size of the sales force like they did after the acquisition of John Middleton - Black&Mild Cigars. Murray Kessler, former UST's president and chief operating officer is now Vice Chair, Altria Group, Inc.. -

References: Tobacco maker UST moves to Altria's Virginia HQ
Smokeless tobacco company UST completes move to Altria's Virginia headquarters
by Michael Felberbaum, AP Business Writer, 4/1/2009; UST is now operating under the name U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., Staff Writers, Richmond Times=-Dispatch, 4/1/2009.

(Name change no longer UST, Inc. the Altria subsidiary is called United States Smokeless Tobacco Company (USST)).